CNN’s liberal and usually measured commentator, Fareed Zakaria has let it been known for some time that he is not a fan of Donald Trump. Many of his past commentaries about Trump, indeed, suggested a deep personal dislike for the Republican nominee for the presidency, rather atypical for this, otherwise, fairly balanced commentator. At his last week’s Sunday morning program, The Global Square (GPS), his dislike for Trump, however, came to full blow, calling Trump on live TV (fully spelled out) a “bullshit artist.” One has to give it to Zakaria, though, no other political pundit can be that insulting with more serenity in tone, verbal eloquence and imposing screen presence. He first prepared his audience by warning about his impending use of usually taboo language. Then, in preparation for his assault on Trump, he defined the term he planned to assign to Trump literally and psychologically by quoting from an “important” book of a well-known “expert,” and only then did he reveal that this whole exercise had been preparation for calling Trump a bullshit artist on live TV.
One could not help but be impressed by Zakaria’s performance because, as he described the personality type of a bullshit artist, one, indeed, had to agree with him, – The Donald, likely, really fits that bill (a conclusion many voters, we are sure, instinctively have reached before, whether consciously or unconsciously). But does this mean that Hillary Clinton should, therefore, be the beneficiary of our votes? Contemplating this question, the idea for and title of this column was born.
Here we are, a country of roughly 325 million people, still considered the leading nation in the world, less than three months away from a historically crucial election, and our choices for president are an acknowledged bullshit artist and an equally widely acknowledged compulsive pathological liar. Two logical conclusions come immediately to mind: First, we, of course, deserve better; and that means we have to do something to prevent this from happening again in the future. Second, we, indeed, do have to choose between the bullshit artist and the pathological liar.
Let’s start by addressing the second point because this is where Zakaria’s presentation, ultimately, failed in its logic: Having other options than to vote for a bullshit artist would, of course, be greatly preferable. But if there is only one other option, the obvious next question to be answered is, what is this alternative? And if the only alternative is a pathological and proven corrupt liar, then we here at The Canary take the personality of a bullshit artist over that of a corrupt pathological liar any day and anytime.
And here is why: Much of what comes out of Trump’s mouth (please forgive our language) is, indeed, bullshit. Those who know the real estate business (especially in New York City) will agree that it often involves a considerable degree of hot air verbosity and exaggeration, in New York City slang often also referred to as “chutzpah.” Many years ago when, because the New York real estate market had collapsed, Trump was close to losing his whole (then much smaller) empire, he attended a crucial meeting with his bankers. One of those bankers tells the story that never in his professional career did he see more amazing “chutzpah” than exuded by The Donald as he walked into that meeting on the verge of bankruptcy. Convincing a large group of initially very hostile bankers that it was in their best financial interest to support him in saving his real estate empire, both, he and the bankers, ultimately walked out of that room as winners.
There is something important to learn from this story for the upcoming election: bullshit artists are not necessarily evil people. Like most of us, they, of course, are driven by self- interests. But because their personality traits usually make them strive for recognition (do you recognize The Donald?), they will do their best to succeed. And if they are smart, they often will do surprisingly well (do you recognize The Donald?).
Contrast that to the alternative that Hillary Clinton offers. She, of course, has a very different psychological profile; Even her supporters acknowledge that she is a compulsive liar but this is not where the negative ends. In over 30 years in politics she also has demonstrated complete callousness in defending her aspirations, whether as wife of a philandering husband, who had no hesitation of degrading his female victims, or as a political candidate herself, where her private server scandal says it all and, as appears increasingly likely, will offer many more surprises before the November election. Or look at her handling of the Benghazi scandal, the Clinton Foundation and the selling of favors to foreign interest, where also more can be expected to come to the surface before November.
Most importantly, however, she has failed in all of her positions. As First Lady her husband assigned her responsibility for revamping the country’s health care system. How she went about it in total secrecy resulted in one of the biggest failures of the Clinton administration. As a senator she was ineffective in achieving what she had promised Upstate New York, and as Secretary of State her tenure can only be viewed as catastrophic. This offers a remarkable contrast to Donald Trump who, as above noted episode so well demonstrates, very obviously earned his success in a very competitive industry.
Think about this comparison all of you “undecided!” Think about the difference between bullshit and evil; think about what went on throughout the Bill Clinton presidency, and I am not talking only about Monica Lewinsky. Remember the travel agency scandal? Remember that Clinton’s rented out Lincoln’s Bed Room in the While House for political contributions? And then there is, of course, now the Clinton Foundation; just wait, – there is much more to come on that front before November.
So, while we here at The Canary wish we had better choices, we any day will choose a capable bullshit artist over a pathological liar looser. Trump, hopefully, will surround himself with smart people and make more right than wrong decisions. Like all presidents before and after him, he will make mistakes because making mistakes is baked into the position. We, however, can be reasonably certain that he will do his best to “Make America Great Again.” The same cannot be said about Hillary Clinton, where the country at every moment would have to fear being sold out for even the most minute personal interests and/or simply falling victim to incompetence.
To those “Never Trumpers” who simply cannot bring themselves to vote for Donald Trump, all we can say is follow the thought processes we here outlined (and we did not even mention the Supreme Court). If you then still cannot bring yourself to vote for Trump, don’t complain if Hillary is elected. You deserve it!
The Canary very much would have preferred different choices on both sides of the isle. Therefore, the time is now to start thinking how a repeat of the current situation can be avoided in future presidential elections. The Canary will return to this issue with some ideas in the future. Only so much now: Is there anybody out there on the left or right who does not believe that our primary election system requires radical reorganization? The time to start thinking about how to do that is now!